January 15, 2017

Five Tips for Creative Souls to get Clear & Focused.


Do you ever find yourself glancing around your room, office or home, feeling completely overwhelmed and suffocated by all the little things that have slowly accumulated and made their way into your life?

Lately, I’ve been going through a big phase of de-cluttering, sifting through all those clothes, shoes, products, homewares, unnecessary paperwork, magazine cutouts, art and pictures that once inspired me.

I’ve always been a visual person, surrounding myself with pictures, posters and artwork depicting the life I wanted to have one day, as if it was always an arm’s reach away.

Dreams are beautiful and important, but sometimes that constant desire for more is counterproductive, overwhelming and utterly depressing.

When our minds are so clouded by all the things we want to do, should do and should be, we block any avenue for true creativity, authenticity and vision.

And so here I am, burning sh*t in my back yard, dropping stuff off to the charity shop and giving away shoes and bags. I’m creating space to think clearly and breathe without being bombarded daily with all the material objects that have found a spot in my home—visual reminders of where I hope to be one day.

Instead, I’m seeking contentment—here, now, even if it’s boring at times, even when I feel like I’m going to explode from the need to create something, share, dream and feel inspired.

We all need down time. We all need stages of solitude; that’s where we spend our time doing the small things in life. Enjoying a coffee. Reading a book. Swimming at the beach. Walking and actually paying attention to the trees. Feeling bored. Wondering. Thinking.

I find that it’s often within these moments spent doing the “small things” that our focus becomes clear and what’s truly important to us speaks—not from outside, but from within. This voice has always been there. It’s important to remove all the distraction and noise currently nestled in our home or workplace so we can hear that quiet truth.

We are already destined for great things, meaning and purpose.

You are indeed an artist and, like all of us, you will struggle at times. Keep going. Keep creating space—not to think of what you must create, but to deeply feel what you are meant to create. This is the job of an artist: to keep the channel open, and not get in the way of our unique expression.

Here are five tips to help you create the space and sense of freedom to welcome true creative fulfillment into your life:

1. Clean out your wardrobe.

I don’t have much clothing or shoes anymore; my partner actually owns more than I do! That doesn’t mean that I only wear track pants or own three t-shirts. I have more than that, but what I do own actually gets worn (if you have clothing in your wardrobe that has not been worn for over a year then perhaps a clean out is necessary), and I feel comfortable and happy in whatever I wear.

When I first started sifting through all my clothing a few years ago, I found it easy to chuck everything that I hadn’t worn in six months into a garbage bag, even if I liked an item. You know how you have a certain top that you really love, but for some reason never wear? Yep, well, chances are you are probably not going to wear it, so toss it in the bag.

Once I’ve done this, I put the garbage bag in the boot of my car or garage, and if I don’t think about any of the clothing in the bag for at least two months, then I know I can take it to the opp shop or give it to friends or family. If I do think, “Ah, I would love to wear that top,” then I know I probably should keep it. This process can be applied to clothing, material possessions, kids’ toys—anything really! Give it a go and see if it works for you.

2. Sort out your paperwork.

The other day, I went through the boxes and folders that we never want to go through. There was so much unnecessary crap I’d been continuing to lug around every time I moved. Now of course we need to keep some important documents, but I had stuff going way back that really was just a joke.

For anything personal you don’t want to wind up in unknown hands, I recommend burning it if you have a fireplace, or shredding and recycling it. This can even be done for old journals that you no longer want to hold onto. I have been writing for as long as I can remember, and I used to keep them all because “one day I will read them.” But those journals can reflect some really hard chapters in our lives, and I prefer to get things down on paper as a means of clearing out my head and making way for the new—not so that I can relive my past experiences over and over. This is a personal choice, and we all have a different perspective. Do what works for you.

3. Organize your bedroom.

I am a clean and tidy person; my partner is a relatively messy person, so our bedroom typically looks like organized chaos. In the beginning this was quite annoying, but over time I have learned to accept it, and I now practice “letting go.”

I think it’s necessary to go through all those little objects currently sitting in your home and ask yourself if each one really brings value into your life. If it does, then great—keep it. If you find yourself thinking, “Ah, but so-and-so gave me this,” then you can choose to keep it—or realize that if that person is important to you, you’re far better off actually spending time with them than clinging on to an object for the sake of it.

I’m not saying to throw out all your things; I’m simply asking you to reflect on whether you want them in your life or not. They all add up and clutter not only your space, but also your mind.

4. Get clear about your priorities.

I believe ensuring that our day-to-day activities align with what’s actually important to us is fundamental to our sense of self, happiness and fulfillment. This might be fitness, family, education, eating well, pursuing a creative career, financial stability or helping others.

When these needs are not being met, we start participating in other activities to fill the void—like buying unnecessary homewares, clothes and “gifts” for ourselves for our hard work. Now, an intentional purchase is not the issue; if you need something, then go ahead and get it! However, if you are simply bored or feeling down or lonely, don’t go out and buy something that will only bring you short-term happiness and end up sitting in your home unused.

Instead, why not invest in experiences—exercise, meeting a loved one, making a great meal for your family, meditation, or sitting down and putting energy into your business plan, book proposal or painting. We create so much waste when we buy into consumerism and buy things because they are on sale or in trend; it’s a vicious trap, and most of us are guilty of it. It’s important to be aware of the consequences of our choices.

5. Welcome creativity.

One of the biggest mistakes we make, when it comes to our creativity, is forcing it to happen. I feel this is the result of our “have it all now” attitude. But when it comes to creativity, we cannot click a button and expect it to arrive all new and shiny in the mail. Creativity takes effort, faith and the desire to listen for its calls.

We’ve all experienced those moments doing the most mundane things when an idea pops into our mind—showering, driving, waiting in the checkout line, sitting in class or waiting for a train. Your job is not to come up with the creative ideas, but to catch them when they shoot up from the core of your being into your mind.

This is the feeling we get when we are fueled with so much joy and adrenaline rushing through our bodies, from one idea making its way into our awareness. Your job is to grab it, roll with it and do what has to be done to make it happen.

It starts with slowing down, creating space and then being open and receptive for when the time is right.


Author: Erin Stevenson

Image: Used with permission from @gypsieraleigh on Instagram

Editor: Toby Israel


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